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April 28, 2003

News Makers

I am beginning to realize that the well known TV media outlets are no longer in the business of reporting news. Reporting no longer means presenting the facts of a news story and letting the consumer make their own decisions. Instead, we are presented with tantalizing bits of information surrounded by sound bytes and so called experts pontificating about how we should think about what has been presented. It is as though the movers and shakers within that business have decided that we can't handle the actual news and we need to be spoon fed what is important.

Here is the problem with that approach... I don't care about half the crap that they want to force down my throat and the rest of it is presented in such a way that it gives you either misleading or insufficient information to make a informed decision about what they are talking about.

Take for example, the Laci Peterson case. I feel really sorry that this pregnant woman disappeared and I do feel sorry for her family and friends that she ended up dead. But why do we have to keep hearing about it over and over again on the evening news. According to the latest statistics that I can find, there are over three woman killed per day by their domestic partners. So why do we have to keep hearing about this woman? It could be because she was pregnant at the time. Again, I do feel bad about that, but of those 1,200 women that are killed per year, I am sure some of them were pregnant. Why should I care about Laci Peterson? It seems that the main reason is because Tom Brokaw says that I should. I can't be the only person in the world that doesn't care that law enforcement searched her house several times and that they found some powder that might have been concrete in her husband's boat. The big boys at the NBC head office decided that for some reason or another, that this story should be really important to me. That is why we have to keep hearing about it.

Another example is this whole SARS thing. For those of you that don't know, SARS is a new form of the coronavirus. The coronavirus was previously known to cause colds in human beings and can cause other, more severe problems in animals. Now, the virus has changed in some way and is causing more severe symptoms and resulting in death in about 5% of the people that get it. If you watch the news, that is all you are presented with. All you see is video of children wearing masks and disinfecting everything. All you hear is so called experts saying how bad this epidemic is. Overall, pretty frightening if that is the only information that you have. According to statistics provided by the World Health Organization, there are 5,050 people that have been diagnosed with SARS. Of those, 321 people have died. According to the US Census Bureau, there are 6,289,579,217 in the world. Based on those numbers, 0.00000008% of the world population has SARS and 0.000000005% of the world population has died from it. Granted, it does have the ability to spread more, but people are doing their jobs and helping to contain it. The spread of the disease has slowed and fewer people have been coming down with the disease. So why is there so much partial information being thrown around about it? I don't know, but I am getting fed up by it.

All I ask is for the media to stop trying to force feed me crap and spoon feed me information. People are smart enough to figure out what is important to them and, if they want the fluff, they can turn to the E! channel or something like that. Get over yourselves... You are not the only ones that understand the news and can digest the information.

April 23, 2003

America... What a country!

This evening while I was watching the news, I saw some video of a young man somewhere on the west coast burning an American flag in protest of some situation that he didn't believe in. In those 10 seconds or so, I realized two things.

First off, I realized that I had no respect for that man or his cause. That, and that I hated what he was doing. Both of my grandfathers and my father all spent a lot of time risking their lives in defense of that flag and everything that it stands for.

Secondly, I realized that the United States has got to be the best country in the world.

OK. I know that this is an odd juxtaposition of emotions. As I watched this kid burn the flag, I realized that he was exercising more rights as an American than most of us ever do. Sure, most of us exercise our right to vote. And some of us may actually write a letter to one of our representatives to express an opinion. A few actually decide to make a real jump and run for office. But how many of us have stood up and expressed ourselves in this, or any other way? This guy took a position and decided that the best way to get his point across about his unhappiness is to burn the flag. While I, and quite a few other people in this country, despise his act, we have to realize that the Constitution does give this bonehead the right to express himself in ways that make the most of us want to pound him into the ground.

The funny thing about this whole situation is that the guy was burning the flag to protest the fact that the U.S. military is in Iraq and working to free the Iraqi people from a dictator that would have strung him up if he were to do the same thing there. While he has a right to do it here, maybe Sadam Hussein had the right idea in some respects. OK. Not really. But it is an interesting thought.

America... What a country!

April 19, 2003

Its All In The Name...

The Angry Fat Man. How does one become an angry fat man? It has taken me years of practice to become angry and fat. The man part didn't take a lot of work on my part. Lets break it down a little bit, though.

Angry... Am I an angry man? Depends on what time of the day it is. I guarantee that at some point during the day, some person of lesser intelligence will do something that requires me to ridicule them in some way. Does that make me angry. I guess you can say that. The good part about it is that I do get over it quickly, so the anger does pass quickly. And don't be one of those people that tells me that I shouldn't be angry. Everyone out there gets pissed off at something throughout the day. It could be some idiot on the highway that cuts you off. It could be some stupid story on the news that makes you want to hit someone. It could be one of your coworkers. It doesn't matter how it happens, but people do get pissed off. So get off my back... It gives me stuff to write about.

Fat? Well, yes. There isn't a lot more than I can say about that. If it makes you feel better, call me pleasantly plump and get over it.

So, to sum it all up... Angry? Yes. Fat? Yes. Man? Last I checked.

April 18, 2003

What am I doing?

In reality, I am still asking myself the same question. I really don't know what I am doing. All I know is that I have made the decision to start putting stuff out here. For the most part, I am doing this because I am one of those people that like to get out a soapbox, stand on it and tell anyone that will listen my thoughts on anything that happens to come through my mind. The odd thing is is that I really don't have a lot of problems getting people to listen to me. I am not sure why that is.

It could be that I am a very engaging speaker.

It could be that I am an extremely funny person.

It could be that they are just bored and are simply waiting for me to stop talking.

In reality, it doesn't really matter to me why, or if, people listen to me. I am going to keep getting up on this soapbox and talking. If you don't like what I have to say, stop listening.

If you do decide to stick around, be warned... I guarantee that at some point I will piss you off. Its not that I am trying to piss you off; it is to make you think.

If you don't want to think, move along. There is nothing to see here. Otherwise, sit back and enjoy the show.